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What do you find interesting about Adeline Yen Mahs presentation of Chinese culture, tradition and history in 'Chinese Cinderella'?

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What do you find interesting about Adeline Yen Mahs presentation of Chinese culture, tradition and history in 'Chinese Cinderella'? By Michael Taubman Adeline Yen Mah was born in 1937 in China during cultural upheaval. 'Chinese Cinderella' is an autobiography of Yen Mah's life during the ages of 4-14 years. As the book is a portrait that is only written from Yen Mah's view over life it would differ if someone else wrote it. The Chinese culture, traditions and history changed dramatically when the French involved themselves in their lives. Yen Mah actually lived in a French concession, this meant that she and any other Chinese people living in the area, were classed as second-class people over the French in their own country. This was a result of the Chinese losing the Opium war in 1842, which led their country to fall under foreign control. In 1941 the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour, which involved the United States in the Second World War, although Tianjin (The place where yen Mah and her family lived) was occupied by the Japanese the French concession was still being governed by French officials. 'French policemen strutted about looking important and barking out orders in their language, which they expected everyone to understand', even though the French had taken over parts of China no one could understand them, ...read more.


New Year is celebrated on January the 1st, but for Chinese people its starts on the first day of the first New Moon on the New Year and ends on the full moon 15 days later. The Chinese Lunar Calendar names each of the twelve years after an animal. Legend has it that the Lord Buddha summoned all the animals to come to him before he departed from earth. Only twelve came to bid him farewell and as a reward he named a year after each one in the order they arrived, Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Roster, Dog and Bear. In China new clothes are worn on New Year's Day to signal a new beginning. The clothes Yen Mah and her brothers and sisters got were nothing compared to Niang's children's clothes, 'what gets me...is the blatant inequality between her children and us...if they really believed in traditional clothes then all seven children should be wearing the same'. In August 1945 when Yen Mah was eight years old, America dropped the 'Atom bomb' on Japan, which ended the Second World War. The blast destroyed 68 percent of the city, damaged another 24 percent, and an estimated 60,000 to 70,000 people were killed. ...read more.


Yen Mah managed to overcome the death of her grandfather and carried out the rest of her year at 'Sacred Heart School and Orphanage'. Suddenly without warning she was asked to go home, the chauffeur picked her up and took her home. When she arrived home she was asked to enter her father's bedroom, 'The Holy of Holies'. Yen Mah had won the play-writing completion she had entered some months ago. For the second time in her life her father was proud of her, 'it was announced today that 14-year-old Hong Kong school girl Adeline Jun-Ling Yen won first prize in the International Play-writing Competition...our sincere congratulations Adeline Yen for bringing honour to Hong Kong'. Yen Mah finally had a father, 'I was quite pleased to tell him you are my daughter'. The superstition that Yen Mah was 'bad luck' had been lifted, she had her father back and the chance to go to medical school in England. 'That's a foolproof profession for you...father I shall go to medical school in England and become a doctor, thank you very, very much'. Adeline Yen Mah had overcome all of the traditions, culture and historic problems that faced her, and had been rewarded with her father classing her as his daughter again and she was able to travel to England, far away form all of China's upheavals. ...read more.

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